Plot: A Beautiful Planet aims to give us a fresh perspective on planet earth, as seen from the International Space Station. The movie gives us a whirlwind look at some of the world’s history through the lens of space, then settles in to take us inside the space station. This allows us to see the routines and daily ins & outs of life on the ISS, the kind of stuff that most people might not think about. What is everyday life like in such a unique environment and how do those on board view our planet, given their incredible perspective? The film also sheds some light on the environmental concerns the earth faces and while this has all been covered before, the space element ensures we have never seen the information illustrated like this. So while there are beautiful visuals to soak in, there’s also substance beneath those visuals.
Entertainment Value: This IMAX documentary runs just under 50 minutes, which is likely the main drawback, as the material seems to have enough potential for a much longer duration. But this is a concentrated burst of environmental discussion, shown in a fresh way by letting us experience climate change from space and of course, that allows us to see things much differently than we’re used to. This also never feels like a sermon, just some science proposed from the unique perspective of the ISS, which makes for some incredible visuals. The beauty of space is given some time here, with spectacular results, but NASA fans will also appreciate the glimpses into life on ISS, especially as seen via the IMAX lens. So I think has appeal to a wide scope of viewers, as NASA buffs, fans of documentaries, and those interested in ecological issues should all find interesting things in A Beautiful Planet. And it doesn’t hurt that Jennifer Lawrence serves as the narrator, does it?
The Disc: Mill Creek Entertainment has rolled out the 4k red carpet for this one, with both UHD and Blu-ray discs provided in this release. Simply put, this is a phenomenal looking presentation, the kind of gorgeous visuals that 4k was designed for and this could easily be used as your go-to reference disc. The finest of details spring to life here and really provide a visual feast, while colors are beyond vibrant, this is just an amazing effort from Mill Creek. Pop in the Blu-ray, which looks great on its own merits, and you’ll how much better 4k can be when done right. The extras include three very brief, but interesting behind the scenes featurettes.